Reptile experts are baffled by a python attack in an apartment that left two young boys dead in New Brunswick.
The children, Noah Barthe aged five, and Connor Barthe aged seven, were sleeping at a friend's apartment on Sunday in the small town of Campbellton, when they were reportedly strangled by the 45-kilogram African rock python.
It had escaped from a pet store that specialised in exotic animals, located on the floor below the apartment.
The store owner, Jean-Claude Savoie, reportedly found the snake in the living room with the boys.
"Police believe that a large exotic snake escaped its enclosure at the store sometime overnight, and got into the ventilation system, then into the upstairs apartment," police said. "It's believed the two boys were strangled by the snake."
A friend of the boys was sleeping in another room and was unharmed.
Authorities were still waiting for the results of the autopsies to determine the cause of death.
The python had been recaptured and was being held by police.
A snake expert said it was possible that the python was spooked and simply clung to whatever it landed on.
Snake expert John Kendrick, a manager at the Reptile Store in Hamilton, Ontario, said it sounds like the python was not enclosed properly and might have been spooked.
He called the strangling deaths "very unusual".
Other reptile experts also expressed doubt over the incident, saying it would be very rare for a constrictor to attack two young boys.
"It's difficult to believe," said David Rogrigue, director of Montreal's Ecomuseum Zoo. Such an accident would be "an isolated case and very, very extraordinary, and very improbable", he said.